Provide relief aid for child care centers
Providers of quality child care and early learning, as well as many families with young children, are suffering financial distress during this pandemic, and too many child care centers and homes are going out of business. For the economy to recover and parents to work, many need child care that includes early childhood education.
With successful early learning and care, children will get a start on succeeding in school, and that saves society from the serious costs when children need remedial help from Kindergarten all the way through high school. A poor start during the preschool years can lead many children to problems in school, to dropping out, and, sadly, to getting involved negatively with the justice system. Such problems cost local and state governments in substantial ways for many years.
However, funds invested early in preschool learning and child care provide great returns on the investment.
The state of Illinois and the federal government should support the economy now by providing relief funding for early childhood educators, child care centers and homes, and parents of young children during this dire economic period.
The savings to our state and nation later, for decades, will be much greater than the expense this year and in 2021. Meanwhile, children and their families, plus the modestly paid personnel who care for kids and help them learn will benefit, and the economy battered by COVID-19 will recover better.
We should encourage our legislators to support this win-win investment in children.
Pat O'Keefe and Lynn Allison, Co-Presidents
Early Childhood Community Coalition of Lake County